Summer 2014 - PNW Volunteer & Road Trip

Discussion in 'Serious Offroad Trips, Trail Rides, and Meets' started by yellocoyote, Jan 29, 2014.

  1. profdlp

    profdlp On The Ledge

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    If those are cell phone pictures I can't wait to see the real deal. :cheers:
     
  2. yellocoyote

    yellocoyote Administrator

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    Travel Day 8: Bend, OR to Portland, OR

    I was up early, and decided to cruise the downtown area of Bend before heading out. It was something I hadn't done yet, and the night before was really busy... being Friday night and all. Saturday morning was quiet with a few folks wandering around. I located a little coffee shop called Thump Coffee. I picked up a hot chocolate and a ham & cheese croissant. Nice ambiance, nicer people. That's kind of my opinion of the town, as a whole - I could see spending more time here in the future.

    My route carried me up and over the Cascade Mountain range. The US 20 route was very pretty, but I was looking for something... more. I quickly learned that I had access to the fire roads that littered my route. And after a quick consultation with my friend, Google, I could also see which of the roads were merely in-and-back roads, and which went through to reconnect with the highway. So I probably spent a LOT more time in this area than I should have... but it was fun, and pretty.

    Mount Washington on the right.
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    Bigfoot? Swamp Thing? Weed-monster? Who knows...
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    Once I got out of the mountains, I stayed my course... and tried not to stop too often unless necessary. I did end up following a parade in downtown Lebanon, OR. I think it was for their Strawberry Festival.

    About 50 miles from the coast, I noticed the temperature started to drop. About 10 miles from the coast, the smell of the air changed... and just outside of Newport - the odor of fish! I had arrived!

    I ran out of road...
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    It was incredibly windy. I spent a half hour or so wandering down to and back from the beach, and then over to one of Newport's outlook areas.

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    I also visited the nearby Yaquina Head Lighthouse.
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    The idea was to drive up the Pacific Coast Highway - Hwy 101, and then cut back east into Portland. This, too, took me an incredibly long time. After driving over nearly every rise, uttering the words "whoa..." or "Wow!" Most of these experiences required me to stop and take photos - so getting to Portland took a really long time.

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    I rolled into Portland late, and I was really tired. So I found a truck stop nearby to I-5, and went to sleep right away.
     
  3. yellocoyote

    yellocoyote Administrator

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    While I think I could have had a really good night's sleep last night, it was interrupted.

    I had arrived to one of the Portland area truck stops to sleep last night. I got all situated, and was asleep for 2 hours when security came a knocking, saying I couldn't be there.

    Umm, what?!

    It's a friggin' truck stop. Truckers can park there to sleep... and every other truck stop I've parked at to sleep has never told me to leave. So I'm not entirely sure what that was all about. I moved to the next available dark lot - which ended up being at a Dick's Sporting Goods lot. It appears that I was not the only one making use of that lot to sleep. The rest of my night went undisturbed, and I slept in longer today than I had the entire week.

    Once I got up/showered/breakfasted, I wanted to take care of my week's worth of laundry before heading up the mountain to meet with my hosts. I hate the idea of showing up with dirty laundry to do - tacky.

    Once done, I drove about 12 miles outside of Portland city center to meet my new hosts, where I'll be for the next 2 weeks:

    Cascadia Chestnuts

    This location is essentially a chestnut orchard... with some other side projects going on. At this time of the year, there is very little left to do concerning the chestnut trees... but there is still help needed in other areas like in their garden, the fruit orchard, help with chickens, etc. It's a relatively light workload compared to what I've had in previous years, which leaves a lot more time for me to get out and explore the area.

    My hosts - Chris and Andrea (nicknamed Grady) - are a retired couple, I guess to be in their 50's. She was previously a RN, and he was in construction. But it seems that between their retirement earnings and what they make annually selling chestnuts to the local markets, they're doing pretty well.

    My lodging is an older self-contained camper with all the luxuries of home. Seriously. It's my own mini-apartment. Full kitchen, full bath, TV with DVD player, internet. Very cozy, and very comfortable. Plus I have use of the grill, in-ground pool, and fire pit.

    (I'm borrowing their photos... I didn't take any of my own today.)
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    I spent my first couple of hours here getting the grand tour, and then was left to get settled in to my new quarters. We reconvened later for dinner and conversation.

    I imagine I'll dig in and get my hands dirty tomorrow - and I'm looking forward to it!
     
  4. Jo6pak

    Jo6pak Full Access Member

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    :hmm:Chestnuts?.... Grill?..
    Methinks there's a Christmas song in there somewhere.:gr_grin:

    Sounds like you had a great trip out, hope the rest of the excursion goes just as splendid
     
  5. yellocoyote

    yellocoyote Administrator

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  6. profdlp

    profdlp On The Ledge

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    Holy cow on the donuts! You're going to have to pick a lot of chestnuts to work those off. :icon_lol:
     
  7. yellocoyote

    yellocoyote Administrator

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    I've been here at Cascadia Chestnuts for a few days already. It's nice environment, and a lot different than the last couple years I've spent WWOOFing.

    Fortunately, for me, I've come during their slow season. There isn't a whole lot going on around here. That translates into not many things required of me, and not very many hours to be worked. I've gotten to cut loose to do my own thing with 3 hours and less of work every day this week. Their busier times of the year are in the fall for harvest and putting in their garden in the spring - and I'm not within either of those time frames. Chris calls it the 'tinkering around' time of the year. Bonus for me, I suppose.

    I've weeded 90% of the garden, put up privacy tint in the RV, and broken down trimmed branches out in the orchard (so they can be mulched with the mower later). That's it. Tomorrow I'll finish the weeding, and then help relocate some larger limbs from a tree that Chris is completely cutting down.

    Most of the time I am on my own for meals - they provide the food, but I do my own cooking and dining. I did join them for dinner on Sunday night, and again tonight. They have said they like having someone a little older around - apparently I'm a better conversationalist than the "kids" that they've had come here. They are definitely an interesting couple with a lot of knowledge about a lot of things.

    Off of the farm, I've perused downtown Portland a little. I've visited a skatepark that both Aaron and I have heard of and had seen in BMX videos - called Burnside. It was originally created by riders under the Burnside St. bridge, without the city's consent. Fortunately, the city ended up being pretty cool about it being there and have not closed it down or destroyed it.

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    Just over the bridge from the skatepark is the world-famous Voodoo Donuts - and I just had to go. Click the link and check out the menu - for real! I'd browsed the menu before coming out west, but not since I'd been here... and I went in not remembering anything I was interested in getting (the store menu lacked the donut descriptions that the website has). So I ordered up the Dirt Donut because that was a no-brainer for something I know I'd like. If I decide to come back again, I'll need to check out the online menu once again and make a more specific choice so I'll be ready next time.

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    Yesterday after working, and going along with Chris and Andee's suggestion, I drove out to Sauvie Island. The island is a mix of public and private land. The private land mostly belongs to organic farmers growing all manner of produce and flowers. The flower fields in bloom are gorgeous right now - makes for a super-scenic drive. The public land is mostly wildlife refuge, which plays host to birds and small mammals... and free range grazing cattle. It took me the better part of a couple of hours for me to drive the island, and I think it was an afternoon well spent.

    Mount St. Helens - the sleeping giant - out on the horizon... as seen from Sauvie Island.
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    I also went and took an open ballet class at the BodyVox dance studio. It had been a few weeks since my last class and the recital, and I thought it would do me good. The open class was at an intermediate/advanced level... and I got a great workout from it. It was probably a little beyond what I'm accustomed to, with a different teaching style, but I'm still very glad I went. I felt really good afterwards.

    This afternoon's adventures weren't nearly exciting. I took the Jeep to wash it. It had over 2200 miles of road grime, dead bugs, stains from mud puddles, manure, and god knows what else on it. I spent a long time on it... and although it looks better, I've already decided that a full hand wash and detail are in Eugene's future when we get back to Elgin. Ick.

    This evening I thought I'd wander about the property and get a few quick shots of my surroundings...

    Front of the main house:

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    Back/side of the house... with the pool and Chris' tool shed:
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    My humble abode:
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    A section of the orchard:
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    The small garden (complete with raspberry bushes):
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    The resident pooch, Oly:
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    Andee boards dogs also... and this is Tekla - she's nearing the end of a month-long stay. She is Rhodesian Ridgeback.
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    Tomorrow, I'll be working in the morning and then for the afternoon and into Friday, I will be visiting the Columbia River Gorge area, and Mount Hood. It's an awesome area for hiking, waterfalls, and great mountain scenery... plus I have it on good authority that there are a lot of good forest service trails to be explored. :)
     
  8. yellocoyote

    yellocoyote Administrator

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    Originally, I'd thought about taking an overnight away from the farm to go visit Columbia River Gorge and Mt. Hood. However, after consulting with my friendly weather source, I reconsidered. They were predicting rain/snow mix for both Thursday and Friday in that area. As an alternative, I pulled the weather for Crater Lake NP - lo and behold, it was showing partly sunny weather for both days. Change of plans!

    Crater Lake NP was a 4-1/2 hour drive, each way. I left Portland at 2:00 pm yesterday afternoon, and rolled into the park about 6:30 pm. I was still well ahead of sunset - that seems to happen pretty close to 10:00 pm in these parts.

    Tunnel on SR 58.
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    Arrival!
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    The initial "whoa" moment once the lake came into view.
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    There wasn't much tourist traffic, I assume, due to the time I came into the park. It felt like I had the place mostly to myself. I had read where the entire expanse of the park road around the lake was not fully open yet due to snow still on the road. I chose to drive what I could find access to.

    I also got out and hiked where I could, but there was a LOT of snow still on the ground in most places, particularly in lower areas. There were many times that I got out to hike, and lost the path under the snow. I chose not to continue with those trails as to not get lost. However, on a few occasions, I could see where the trail resumed on the other side of a patch of snow - but not always.

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    Phantom Ship
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    A look at what I do... sometimes. :)
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    This, on the good camera and not the cell, looks freaking fantastic!
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    I drove and hiked until the southern part of the park road ended - near the Sun Notch trailhead. I learned later this morning that it was closed to the north at the Cleetwood Cove Trail trailhead. The western 1/2 or so of the lake road was open.

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    I drove/hiked/photographed as much as I could while the daylight allowed, and once I was lacking, I parked the jeep at the Crater Lake Lodge to sleep.

    I woke up to 2 fresh inches of... THIS. Kinda reminds me of home...
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    And the view driving to the northern end of the park this morning:

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    I hung around the park for a few hours after I got up, hoping that maybe there would be a break in the weather... but there was not. So I decided to meander my way back to Portland - not rushing, but instead, taking my time to see the sights that I zipped by on the way out.

    The weather was pretty stereotypical 'Pacific Northwest' weather almost all the way back to the interstate, so I didn't get out much. But, I did decide to stop in and visit Eugene... in Eugene. :D
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    From there, I stopped in Salem for lunch and new wiper blades for the jeep - my previous ones proved to be about toast in all the rainy and snowy weather. And then from Salem, it was a straight shot back to "Home, Sweet RV."

    I've decided, and confirmed with my farm hosts, that the Columbia River Gorge and Mt. Hood can be done in afternoons... if I truly wanted to do it that way. I think I will. Potentially as early as Monday, I'll head out that way to do some exploration.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2014
  9. Dave

    Dave Administrator Administrator Moderator

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    Awesome trip and pics, YC.


    Dave
     
  10. CobraNutt

    CobraNutt Full Access Member

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    Outstanding trip log, YC! Thanks for bringing us along and sharing the journey! I look forward to the rest of the story!

    Sent from my KFJWI using Tapatalk
     
  11. yellocoyote

    yellocoyote Administrator

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    I drove out to Timberline Lodge on the foothills of Mt. Hood yesterday, in hopes of having a more up-close and personal experience seeing the mountain. Not so much. While the weather was pretty clear in Portland, Mt. Hood was a bit shy and did not want to show itself. :( I did see plenty of rain, snow, and clouds while I was there.

    Minus the clouds, it should live right there in the center of this photo.
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    But the low-lying farms and orchards were kind of pretty.
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    With Mt. Hood being a bust, I decided that a cruise through the Columbia River Gorge would be a suitable remedy.

    Umm... whoa.
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    By the time I reached the waterfall portion of the Gorge, night was drawing near. I did get some pretty cool waterfall shots on the camera before it got too dark, but the cell camera couldn't handle it - so I'll post some of the actual shots once I get them processed.

    I camped out near the Bridge of the Gods in Cascade Locks.
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    I camped out and got to it again early the next morning. The weather wasn't as nice as the forecast had been predicting... but it was run-of-the-mill Pacific Northwest rain... and that was okay. I got more photos of more waterfalls, but really enjoyed the scenic US Highway 30 route almost as much. I've never seen anywhere quite so green before - it was gorgeous!

    Multnomah Falls
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    Section of the drive...
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    I finished up in the Gorge, and decided it was worth one last trip to Voodoo Donuts before I left the Portland area. This will serve as breakfast for the next few mornings.

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    I drove SR 26 back out to Cannon Beach - where I originally came in from - to continue my trip up US 101 where I had left off. There was a ton of beautiful shoreline, and I discovered a handful of beaches where it was legal to drive. I drove the beach (instead of the road) between Seaside and Warrenton - approximately 8 miles.

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    I reached the end of the line in Oregon - Astoria - famous for the movie The Goonies. :) I hung around the water for awhile, getting photos and taking a break from driving. Then it was time to cross over into Washington on the Astoria-Megler Bridge - an impressive span!

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    I meandered north on the Washington coast - enjoying the beach driving wherever it was available. I ended up stopping early for the day in Long Beach, WA.

    I was on the beach waiting for the sunset colors when I noticed a lot of people around a mini-van towards the beach access entry. Upon further investigation, the van contained a bunch of teenagers, their mom and grandmother (or so it appeared). The van was stuck in the soft sand - the driver either "missed" the hard-pack sand runway, or just thought she could make it. A couple of other people stopped to try and help them by attempting to dig out the wheels. But once she started to drive again, she would only bury the vehicle further. I offered to help them and strap them out. After realizing she was making no progress doing it the way the other folks suggested, she was willing to let me try. I pulled my recovery strap from the Jeep, and we threaded it through the passenger side control arm on the van. After a couple of gentle tugs, she regained forward momentum and was on the hard-packed sand again. They thanked me a million times over, and helped me put the strap away.

    The only evidence was the aftermath...
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    And I was still able to get some last minute sunset photos. :)
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    Not a bad day!
     
  12. OneOneNiner

    OneOneNiner Full Access Member

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    Excellent Jaym! You're one of the busiest bodies I know.
    Thanks for the excellent report!
     
  13. yellocoyote

    yellocoyote Administrator

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    I'm trying to update this again tonight, but my WiFi source is god-awful slow. So if you want the latest and greatest, click on the "In Search Of..." link in my signature. I'll eventually get it transcribed here. :p
     
  14. profdlp

    profdlp On The Ledge

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    Here's hoping for better bandwidth and a happy continuation of your awesome trip. :cheers:
     
  15. CactusJacked

    CactusJacked Full Access Member

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    Enjoying your great show & tell reports. Things were so much less complicated though, when we used soup cans and string to communicate! ;)
     
  16. CobraNutt

    CobraNutt Full Access Member

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    What a terrific adventure!! I'm slightly envious! Having driven through many of the areas you've recently explored, I find myself craving a serious KJ road trip to see those places again! I look forward to the rest of your journey and terrific pics! Well written...well documented! Thanks for sharing!

    Sent from my own little galaxy...
     
  17. Jo6pak

    Jo6pak Full Access Member

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    OK, I admit it........I'm a bit jealous.
     
  18. profdlp

    profdlp On The Ledge

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    You're better men than me - I am a WHOLE LOT jealous. :icon_lol:
     
  19. yellocoyote

    yellocoyote Administrator

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    Outside of fuel, it's all being done on the very cheap. Stocking up the KJ with groceries (occasionally stopping somewhere for a meal), sleeping in the back every day... totally doable.
     
  20. yellocoyote

    yellocoyote Administrator

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    Here's the post from yesterday, June 18th, documenting the 17th & 18th...

    I left Long Beach, WA continuing north along Hwy 101. I would be entering Olympic National Forest & Park for the first time, and was not sure what to expect.

    The scenery changed the further north I traveled. It transitioned from rock and sand to more prominent forests - very tall trees, very dense forests.
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    I arrived into the southwest corner of the park. Much of this area was residential and campgrounds. I couldn't find a definitive answer on how far the road I was on went into the park - I had read that all roads in Olympic were spur roads, and did not connect. Knowing this, I only drove in about 12 miles. The road ran parallel with Lake Quinault. Fantastic lake views! I did stop for a brief session to photograph a waterfall area.

    This image does not do it justice - better images to come.
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    As I continued along the highway, there was an overabundance of parking areas for beaches. These beaches were the ones that you often see in photos and movies... with the open water and the large rocks out in the middle. I stopped at a LOT of these beaches on the way... I mean, a LOT.

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    I arrived into Forks, WA mid-afternoon. I stopped off at the visitor center and got a couple of the area waterfall maps and the map for Olympic NP. After driving through town, and stopping for fuel, I drove to the LaPush and Rialto Beaches.

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    At the entrance of the LaPush boundary...
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    The beaches at LaPush were more impressive than what I had seen earlier!
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    Although the sky was very overcast-y, I decided to come back to Rialto Beach later and try to photograph the sunset. In the meantime, I went back into Forks and had dinner at Pacific Pizza.

    The sunset on the beach wasn't a complete bust... it wasn't breathtaking or anything, but there was color. And I watched the Coast Guard helicopter patrol the beach and the water in that area. Once most of the light had gone, I returned to Forks to park and sleep.

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    I woke very early this morning - pre-6:00 am, which is quite early for me on this trip. Instead of trying to go back to sleep, I stayed up and pushed on... in attempt to make up for yesterday's dismal distance.

    I consulted the waterfall map that I got at the visitor center in Forks the previous afternoon, and decided to see if I could find the ones on/close to my route.

    I ended up back in Olympic NP before 8:00 am for a short hike to find the Sol Duc Falls - a 2 mile round-trip hike from the end of the park road. It was well worth the trip, and was probably the most impressive set of falls that I witnessed today.

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    I stopped and photographed a handful of other waterfalls (but this is the only other one I got with my phone).
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    I stopped off in Port Angeles to top off fuel and grab a quick lunch before heading up into Hurricane Ridge.
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    What an unexpected contrast between the waterfall and forested areas and Hurricane Ridge! I hadn't expected to see white-capped mountains within Olympic - it didn't seem right that somewhere so green and lush would also have these high peaks with snow on the ground. But there it was, in all its glory. And it was amazing!

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    I took the road from the visitor center toward Obstruction Point - an unpaved road that most people don't take. It made a fantastic addition to the trek, and gave some alternate perspectives.

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    Eugene and I... we like it here. :)
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    After coming down from Hurricane Ridge, I thought it best to boogie along and get some miles in. I'd lingered a lot today, and was out of the Jeep almost as much as I was in it. I needed to make up some time.

    From Port Angeles to Tacoma, WA - which is where I am now. For now. I was looking at driving down into Mount Ranier National Park tomorrow... but I think I may start that journey tonight. That way I can be back into this area, hopefully, by mid-day tomorrow. Then I'll jump on US Hwy 2, and begin the journey back eastward.